Martin to start 1000th race from pole

Mark Martin will make his 1000th NASCAR career start on Saturday night and he will do so from pole position after emerging fastest in qualifying at Bristol

Martin to start 1000th race from pole

The 50-year-old claimed his fifth pole position of the season and the 46th of his career by setting a lap of 15.414 seconds at an average speed of 124.484 mph.

Despite running early in the session and the improving track conditions, his time stood until the final car completed a flying lap, securing the Hendrick driver one of the most important pole positions of the season.

"That was a pretty good lap," said Martin, who currently ranks in the 'bubble' in the points standing as the last inside the Chase zone.

"I just keep getting this great, special laps. The car was dead-sideways going into [turn] three. I've never been so scared in my whole life. I ran the second lap because I thought the first was junk."

"This performance will do [the Chase]. I don't know about the luck, you know. We've got the performance to do what we need to do."

Roush Fenway's Greg Biffle will start beside his former team-mate on the front row, matching his best qualifying effort of the year after running well during the two afternoon practice sessions.

"I just screwed up in [turns] one and two, I didn't get to the gas soon enough," said Biffle. "The car stuck, I just didn't have the guts to force the gas down. I did it down [turn three and four] but I didn't do it down here and lost [pole] by just an inch. I feel bad for the guys but it's a good starting spot for us."

Scott Speed was the fastest of the non-guaranteed drivers in third, beating fellow rookie Joey Logano who also enjoyed a good run, qualifying eighth.

Dave Blaney, who had been third provisionally, lost the spot to Speed in the closing stages of the session, but still had by far his best qualifying result of the season. Matt Kenseth made massive improvements from practice to round out the top-five.

Many of the drivers who are fighting their way in the Chase ranked among the top-fifteen, with Clint Bowyer taking sixth, Ryan Newman ninth, Juan Pablo Montoya eleventh and Michigan winner Brian Vickers in fourteenth ahead of Kyle Busch.

Reigning champion Jimmie Johnson was fastest in the final practice but failed to show the same speed in qualifying, ranking 21st in the end while points leader Tony Stewart was 30th.

Mike Skinner, Max Papis, Mike Wallace and Aric Almirola all failed to make the field.

Pos Driver Make Speed Time 1. Mark Martin Chevrolet 124.484 15.414 2. Greg Biffle Ford 124.307 15.436 + 0.022 3. Scott Speed Toyota 124.146 15.456 + 0.042 4. Dave Blaney Toyota 123.969 15.478 + 0.064 5. Matt Kenseth Ford 123.897 15.487 + 0.073 6. Clint Bowyer Chevrolet 123.890 15.488 + 0.074 7. Casey Mears Chevrolet 123.754 15.505 + 0.091 8. Joey Logano Toyota 123.706 15.511 + 0.097 9. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 123.642 15.519 + 0.105 10. Reed Sorenson Dodge 123.610 15.523 + 0.109 11. David Gilliland Chevrolet 123.586 15.526 + 0.112 12. Juan Montoya Chevrolet 123.586 15.526 + 0.112 13. Kurt Busch Dodge 123.538 15.532 + 0.118 14. Brian Vickers Toyota 123.451 15.543 + 0.129 15. Kyle Busch Toyota 123.435 15.545 + 0.131 16. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet 123.340 15.557 + 0.143 17. Jamie McMurray Ford 123.245 15.569 + 0.155 18. David Reutimann Toyota 123.126 15.584 + 0.170 19. AJ Allmendinger Dodge 123.103 15.587 + 0.173 20. Bobby Labonte Ford 123.047 15.594 + 0.180 21. Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet 122.984 15.602 + 0.188 22. Terry Labonte Toyota 122.842 15.620 + 0.206 23. David Ragan Ford 122.787 15.627 + 0.213 24. Martin Truex Jr Chevrolet 122.756 15.631 + 0.217 25. Marcos Ambrose Toyota 122.670 15.642 + 0.228 26. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 122.646 15.645 + 0.231 27. Dale Earnhardt Jr Chevrolet 122.584 15.653 + 0.239 28. Regan Smith Chevrolet 122.576 15.654 + 0.240 29. Kasey Kahne Dodge 122.537 15.659 + 0.245 30. Tony Stewart Chevrolet 122.521 15.661 + 0.247 31. Robby Gordon Toyota 122.482 15.666 + 0.252 32. Carl Edwards Ford 122.419 15.674 + 0.260 33. Jeff Gordon Chevrolet 122.411 15.675 + 0.261 34. David Stremme Dodge 122.310 15.688 + 0.274 35. Tony Raines Dodge 122.217 15.700 + 0.286 36. Michael Waltrip Toyota 122.115 15.713 + 0.299 37. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 122.108 15.714 + 0.300 38. Sam Hornish Jr Dodge 122.053 15.721 + 0.307 39. Joe Nemechek Toyota 121.566 15.784 + 0.370 40. Paul Menard Ford 121.389 15.807 + 0.393 41. John Andretti Chevrolet 121.243 15.826 + 0.412 42. Denny Hamlin Toyota 120.626 15.907 + 0.493 43. Elliott Sadler Dodge 119.948 15.997 + 0.583 
Johnson honoured by US president
Previous article

Johnson honoured by US president

Next article

Montoya frustrated with Kahne

Montoya frustrated with Kahne
Load comments
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Plus

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson’s journey to the 2021 NASCAR Cup title comes straight from the Hollywood blockbuster scripts. While Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines for both the right and the wrong reasons

Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Plus

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup Series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Plus

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

Oct 5, 2021
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Plus

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organisation - which underlines his enduring value

Aug 31, 2021
The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin Plus

The F1 nearly-man winding back the clock in NASCAR’s European cousin

A multiple F3000 race winner, Marc Goossens was on the precipice of making Formula 1 in the 1990s - but a lack of budget left him without a path to the promised land. Turning to an illustrious racing career in sportscars, Goossens left the endurance circuit to try his hand at racing stock cars - and now calls the NASCAR Euro Series home

Jul 1, 2021
Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR Plus

Why a British prospect is trying to make it in NASCAR

There has never been a full-time British driver in the NASCAR Cup. But Alex Sedgwick, who is rising through the stock car ranks, wants that to change and could be a trailblazer for European talents to reach the top echelons of the NASCAR ladder

Feb 28, 2021
How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport Plus

How Earnhardt’s death changed American motorsport

It's 20 years since legendary driver Dale Earnhardt Sr died at the Daytona 500, but the legacy of his crash continues today through the pioneering safety work done by NASCAR

Feb 18, 2021
The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021 Plus

The NASCAR subplots to keep an eye on in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season

Feb 12, 2021